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The most effective issues to do in Antwerp with children

Regardless of being one of many world’s smallest international locations, Belgium isn’t wanting tempting metropolis breaks for households – in addition to Brussels, Bruges and Ghent, you could find loads of issues to do in Antwerp with children.

16th century guildhouses in Antwerp with the statue of Brabo and the giant's hand - my tips for the best things to do in Antwerp with kids
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Earlier than I visited, I admit I didn’t know as a lot about this Flemish metropolis, which sits about half an hour from the Dutch border – Europe’s second greatest port, house to Rubens, a vogue hotspot and on the coronary heart of the world’s diamond commerce, there’s tons to find.

And in case your children aren’t fussed by fantastic artwork, treasured gems and avant-garde design, there are some nice household sights as effectively, together with the 22 concepts under, my decide of the most effective issues to do in Antwerp for teenagers.

Antwerp Zoo

One of many oldest zoos on this planet, Antwerp Zoo sits proper subsequent to the practice station – the truth is, when the station was constructed, they needed to promise to verify the wall connecting the 2 was as ornamental because the station itself.

It’s worthwhile to preserve your animals glad, in spite of everything! Preserve an eye fixed out for the camel statue on the rooftop as you enter the gates previous golden mosaic massive cat footage, with round 1,000 totally different species to find contained in the gates.

The totally different areas of the zoo are themed on locations from all over the world, and has numerous tasks to help endangered animals: plus an opportunity to see massive cats, bears, penguins, elephants and extra, together with the aquarium.

Het Steen Citadel

Het Steen – which interprets because the rock – dates again to the beginning of the thirteenth century, when the fortress was a part of an excellent larger fortress.

The oldest constructing in Antwerp, as we speak it homes the vacationer data centre and The Antwerp Story (scroll down for extra particulars) so in contrast to the Gravensteen in Ghent, it’s not a fortress you may discover to get a style of medieval Belgium, however it’s nonetheless an imposing sight.

Outdoors, there’s additionally a statue of an enormous, generally known as Lange Wapper who legend says used to terrorise Antwerp’s inhabitants, and two people cowering earlier than him.

You may also purchase the Antwerp Metropolis Move, together with entry to sights and public transport, on the vacationer data centre, in addition to choosing up maps and biking trails

The Antwerp Story

Set inside Het Steen, the Antwerp Story is a superb introduction to the historical past of town for teenagers.

Transferring via time as you go via 11 totally different rooms, there are some inventive methods to move you again into Antwerp’s previous, together with a hologram of a designer and a 360-degree projection of the port, in addition to fashions to climb inside and extra.

Enable between 30 and 60 minutes for the primary attraction, then save a while to take in the views from the roof terrace of Het Steen.

View of Het Steen castle with its statue of a giant out front - home to The Antwerp Story, one of the best places to start a visit to Antwerp with kids

Choco Nation

The world’s largest Belgian chocolate museum, Choco Nation is a superb mixture of background concerning the historical past of chocolate and chocolate making, and place to attempt just a few your self.

Various, the truth is, as you may style 10 totally different flavours of chocolate as you discover the 14 totally different rooms with an audio information in English and Le Petit Chocolatier expertise for teenagers.

Alongside the way in which, you may be taught some quirky information – corresponding to that Antwerp has the world’s largest cocoa storage port – in addition to just about visiting cocoa plantations on the equator.

Reverse the Central Station, permit round 60-90 minutes for the go to (and preserve an eye fixed out for the colorful Chinatown arch close by as you go in).

Don’t miss at cease on the Chocolate Line store whilst you’re in Antwerp – we found the bizarre flavours throughout a go to to Bruges however the Antwerp store is far quieter

Journey the ferris wheel

Not removed from Het Steen, there are some unbelievable views of town and river from the Antwerp Ferris Wheel.

Set close to Steenplein on the banks of the Scheldt (it beforehand moved places between winter and summer time), it’s an ideal spot on a sunny day – and never scarily excessive for youthful children.

View of the ferris wheel and buildings of Antwerp - my tips if you're visiting Antwerp with kids

Discover the underground canals

Whereas there’s a lot to see above floor in Antwerp with children, town additionally has an interesting underground sequence of tunnels and canals tucked away.

Often known as De Ruien, the waterways had been as soon as used to get across the metropolis within the Center Ages, earlier than being lined over – however you may take a particular tour of the historic underground passages and be taught extra about Antwerp alongside the way in which.

Essentially the most child-friendly approach is to take one of many quick boat journeys, appropriate for age 3+, though these have been briefly suspended whereas restoration work is happening. Within the meantime, children aged 10+ can even be a part of one of many guided walks.

Take a tour

Antwerp is a really walkable metropolis however in case you don’t fancy exploring on foot, you could find loads of different choices too.

Strolling tour of Antwerp with children

As an alternative choice to an organised metropolis strolling tour (though you’re spoiled for selection in case you do need a kind of), attempt a scavenger hunt of Antwerp, fixing clues and riddles as you wander previous 10 of town’s key places.

Household-friendly bike tour of Antwerp

Or be a part of a family-friendly bike tour of Antwerp, the place you may be taught extra concerning the legends and tales of town throughout a three-hour cycle round its streets.

Sightseeing bus tour of Antwerp

If the climate’s dangerous otherwise you’re trying to sightsee with out sporting out small legs, there’s additionally a hop-on hop-off bus tour of Antwerp with a pre-recorded commentary as you drive round – an excellent possibility too in case you’re trying to go to a few of the museums additional out of town centre.

Aerial view of the Scheldt river in Antwerp, where you can take boat trips among other tours with kids in Antwerp

Boat tour of Antwerp

When you simply need a style of being out on the water, hop on the water bus which runs alongside the Scheldt – you may decide it up at Steenplein, close to Het Steen, or the Sint Anna tunnels for instance.

Alternatively, there are personal excursions together with the electrical Sir Tristram from Antwerp by Boat which take you on 50-minute jaunts across the harbour.

Plopsa Station amusement park

This little theme park of Plopsa Station within the centre of Antwerp, also called Comics Station, is all themed round totally different cartoon characters, tremendous heroes and comedian e-book stars.

The indoor amusement park within the practice station has round 15 separate sights, and whereas most received’t be acquainted to non-Belgian guests – besides the Smurfs – it’s all nonetheless enjoyable for youthful children.

Some sights have a minimal top requirement so it’s value doublechecking earlier than you go to.

Spot the road artwork

When you’re visiting with older children, preserve an eye fixed out for the road artwork round Antwerp together with the Stripmuren comedian murals route.

There are presently 13 totally different websites across the metropolis, with a map to obtain if you wish to tick off all of the totally different websites, or you may simply match just a few into your exploring with just a few close to the historic Grote Markt sq..

Grote Markt square in Antwerp with town hall with flags out frot and the fountain of Brabo throwing the giant's hand - my tips for the best things to see in Antwerp with kids

Study the legend of Antwerp’s identify

Head to the historic a part of Antwerp and the Grote Markt sq. is house to a few of its prettiest outdated buildings together with the sixteenth century city corridor and guildhalls.

However whilst you’re there, you may see the Brabo fountain, celebrating the legend which gave town its identify. So the story tells, a Roman soldier identify Brabo got here to the realm the place an enormous was demanding a toll to cross the river.

Anybody who did not pay had their hand minimize off and flung into the water. Brabo, who didn’t need to pay the toll, challenged the large and defeated him within the struggle – earlier than deciding to topic him to the identical punishment, flinging his hand into the river Scheldt.

The Dutch phrases ‘hant’ ‘werpen’ (hand throw) led to the identify we nonetheless use as we speak.

Eat Antwerpse Handjes

When you’ve obtained an excellent legend of giants and fingers being thrown into rivers, the subsequent step is a conventional deal with to have fun it.

Antwerpse Handjes are scrumptious hand-shaped buttery biscuits with flaked almonds in, though you can even discover chocolate fingers and chocolate-covered marzipan choices.

Lift and wooden escalators in the Sint-Anna Pedestrian Tunnel - one of the most unusual things to do in Antwerp with kids

Sint Anna Tunnel

There aren’t many locations the place crossing a river is a child-friendly attraction… particularly if you’re going underneath the water.

However in case you’re visiting Antwerp with children, don’t miss St Anna’s tunnel, which crossed underneath the river Scheldt. Created to attach the newer components of town with the historic city, the river was too busy for a bridge, so as a substitute of going over, the choice was made to go underneath.

The principle spotlight is the Thirties wood escalators which lead you down into the tunnel: fantastically preserved, it’s some of the uncommon issues to do in Antwerp with children – the white-tiled tunnel itself stretches for 1,876 toes and isn’t vastly thrilling however you may simply trip straight again up once more.

When you do preserve going, head proper if you emerge and there’s a small seashore round half a mile away.

Discover some inexperienced house

The largest public inexperienced house within the metropolis, the Stadspark is a beautiful spot to flee the bustle or calm down in the summertime’s warmth.

There’s a small lake to get pleasure from, in addition to strolling trails within the triangular park and a skate park – in case you’re fortunate, you may even spot rabbits. Round 10 minutes stroll from Centraal station.

As one other different, head to the botanic gardens with round 2,000 totally different crops and herbs, within the grounds of the previous medieval hospital on Leopoldstraat.

View of a small bridge among the trees in the Stadspark in Antwerp - one of the best places to find green space in Antwerp with kids

Go to a museum

Antwerp is house to a string of museums, and whereas some will attraction extra to older children (corresponding to MoMu, town’s vogue museum), there’s a powerful vary to take a look at.

KMSKA Museum of fantastic artwork

With a powerful 13,000 items in its assortment, Antwerp’s Museum of Effective Artwork has an enormous assortment of labor by Rubens – who spent a lot of his life within the metropolis – in addition to a string of different artworks proper via to the Expressionists.

Reopened in late 2022 after an enormous 11-year renovation challenge, there are tips about what to look out for for households, plus children aged 6-12 get a sketchbook and pencil as a present with the household path, together with 10 stunning new works to seek out.

Plantin-Moretus Museum

The primary museum to function on Unesco’s World Heritage Website record, the Plantin-Moretus Museum housed one in every of Europe’s most necessary e-book printing corporations.

It’s nonetheless arrange as in case you had been visiting the home because it was 400 years in the past, together with the preserved printing presses. And in addition to with the ability to see a printing demonstration, there’s additionally a enjoyable treasure hunt for households, difficult you to identify animals hiding within the museum rooms – appropriate for ages 4+.

DIVA Museum

Greater than 80% of the world’s uncut diamonds go via Antwerp however a lot of the gem commerce – unsurprisingly – isn’t open to the general public.

So to get an actual style of the bling, head to DIVA Museum, reopening in March 2023, which shares extra concerning the historical past of diamond buying and selling within the metropolis in addition to some spectacular gems and items of jewelry on show.

Exterior of Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) in Antwerp - one of the museums to visit in Antwerp with kids

MAS Museum

The Museum aan de Stroom, or MAS, is one other good place to be taught extra about Antwerp’s historical past – to not point out how its significance as a port cast hyperlinks to international locations all over the world.

Preserve an eye fixed out for family-friendly exhibitions, together with one referred to as ‘Anyone House’ which incorporates a sewer crocodile, board video games and drawing on partitions, whereas one other briefly exhibition covers the legends and tales of Antwerp. Head as much as the roof terrace for an additional nice view too.

The Rubens Home

The home the place Rubens lived throughout his time in Antwerp is closed till 2027, if you’ll be capable of step inside his studio as soon as once more. Within the meantime, younger art-lovers can see his work on the KMSKA, the Plantin-Moretus Museum and contained in the cathedral, amongst different websites.

Museum de Reede

One other museum that’s finest for older children, the Museum de Reede focuses on graphic artwork and engravings together with work by Edvard Munch and Francisco Goya, in addition to up to date artists. Free for under-13s.

Disclosure: This put up incorporates affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee. My go to to Antwerp was courtesy of Luxair and the vacationer board for work with no obligation to share, however I needed to anyway… All opinions are my very own.

Zoo entrance pictures copyright MummyTravels, St Anna tunnel courtesy AdobeStock, all different pictures courtesy of Depositphotos


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